Thursday: Psalm 137-139; Deuteronomy 29.1-15; 2 Corinthians 13.1-14

From: Amanda Bennett

"O daughter of Babylon, doomed to be destroyed, blessed shall he be who repays you with what you have done to us! Blessed shall he be who takes your little ones and dashes them against the rock!" Psalm 137:8-9

I wish this verse shocked me more than it does. While I have never fantasized about infanticide, I am familiar with rage that refuses to express itself nicely. Over the last few years as I have wrestled with the fallout of childhood abuse, I have found a fury in myself that just won’t fade into the background. I often feel so angry that I can literally taste it: coppery shards in the back of my mouth that I can trace back to a heavy presence between my lungs. It is ugly, debilitating, and justified.

Two years ago, I saw in my mind a clear picture of myself beating one of my perpetrators. I saw them trying to protect their face with their hands as my blows continued without pausing. I looked closer and I realized Jesus was crouching in front of this person, absorbing every bit of the punishment I wanted to pour on my enemy. Jesus was the only one left for me to beat, the only one who had borne and could bear need for justice burning a hole in my chest. I have splintered tree branches on the ground, shredded phone books, and ripped apart rubber balls trying to get my anger out of my body. Christ on the cross has to be the place where my fury finally finishes itself, or my rage—justified or not—will destroy me.

I’m relieved Psalm 137 is in the Bible. It tells me that my guttural pain, no matter how disturbing, has a place before God. In Christ, I can long for God’s wrath to fall even as I pray for my enemy. I can pour all my unresolved anger into the prayer “Lord, have vengeance” because I know that in the cross that cry is answered and transformed into “Lord, have mercy.”

I like black tea and dark sitcoms.

Monday: Psalm 128-131; Deuteronomy 28.1-14; 2 Corinthians 11.16-33

From: Brittany Yeager

A few years ago, I read a meditation by David Powlison in which he worked through Psalm 131 in regards to anxiety. Within the meditation, he composed an “anti-psalm”, depicting an image of the peace-less soul—a sharp contrast to what we actually read in Psalm 131. Here’s his anti-psalm:

Self,
my heart is proud (I’m absorbed in myself),
and my eyes are haughty (I look down on other people),
and I chase after things too great and too difficult for me.
So of course I’m noisy and restless inside, it comes naturally,
like a hungry infant fussing on his mother’s lap,
like a hungry infant, I’m restless with my demands and worries.
I scatter my hopes onto anything and everybody all the time.

When I read this the first time (and even today!) I was convicted that the state of my soul often matches the description of the words above, rather than the words penned by David in Psalm 131:

O Lord,
my heart is not lifted up;
my eyes are not raised too high;
I do not occupy myself with things too great and too marvelous for me.
But I have calmed and quieted my soul,
like a weaned child with its mother, 
like a weaned child is my soul within me.
O Israel, hope in the Lord from this time forth and forevermore.

Today, as we begin our week, I am praying for our souls to more readily reflect the soul depicted in Psalm 131. And if our souls more readily relate to the description given in the anti-psalm, let us take a moment to quiet them before the Lord and offer him our worries, our anxieties, our concerns. Surely he is able to transform the hungry, agitated soul into one that rests content in their father’s embrace.